By Vijay Ovhal
“With the widening gap between waste generation and treatment, the need for industrial sludge treatment chemicals is crucial to ensuring environmental sustainability and future longevity.”
Accelerating climate change and a remarkable surge in water-related hazards over the last few years are taking a huge toll on billions of people already stumbling with the looming water crisis aggravated due to dwindling resource availability and explosive population growth. Rapid industrialization, excessive use of untreated wastewater, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides in irrigation, and improper waste management practices across developing economies are a few of the key contributors further accentuating the issue.
Some of the crucial findings from an October 2021 multi-agency report coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) with inputs from over 20 international organizations, scientific institutions, and development agencies suggest:
- In 2020, 2.3 billion people did not have access to basic hygiene services, while 3.6 billion people lacked safely managed sanitation services.
- In 2020, over 2 billion people were living in water-scarce countries with inadequate availability of safe drinking water.
- Water efficiency levels were reported as below average in 75 countries and extremely low in 10 countries in 2020.
These estimates highlight the urgent requirement to introduce efficient waste treatment technologies across the industrial sector and make the most of the opportunities that wastewater throws in order to reach the internationally agreed upon sustainability targets by 2030. Therefore, an increased emphasis on normalizing the deteriorating impact of sewage and wastewater will augment the sales of industrial sludge treatment chemicals over the forthcoming years.
Improving technological landscape in India to transform industrial sludge treatment chemicals market dynamics
When it comes to bridging the gap between waste generation and treatment, India, as a country, has huge untapped potential. Speaking of statistics, a September 2022 report on Urban Wastewater Management in India published by government knowledge agencies such as NITI Aayog and Atal Innovation Mission, in collaboration with National Mission for Clean GangaNMCG, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Innovation Centre Denmark-ICDK and Indian Institute of Technology Bombay-IITB cites:
- India generates an estimated 72,368 million Liters Per Day of urban wastewater, of which 72% remains untreated and is disposed of in lakes, rivers, or groundwater.
While industrial sludge management and treatment remain a bone-in-the-throat issue in the country, companies and research organizations have been infusing significant funds and undertaking necessary initiatives to leverage novel technologies and address this problem.
For instance, in August 2022, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) chose the N-treat method of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, which is a seven-stage waste treatment technique to prevent sewage and sludge from 25 stormwater drains between Dahisar to Bandra from pouring into the sea.
The move was undertaken as part of the corporation's plan for in-situ sewage treatment from the drains. The technique is highly cost-effective due to the involvement of no manual pumping and low electricity consumption.
Similarly, in October 2022, a team of environmental researchers at IIT-Roorkee, under its agreement with Daiki, conducted research on Johkasu Technology (JT) by Japan for its validation and adaptation in Indian cities, especially hilly areas to effectively address the issue of wastewater treatment through on-site household sewage treatment plants.
Increasing chemical production to bolster the industrial sludge treatment chemicals market demand for sludge dewatering
Sludge dewatering technique has gained significant momentum over the years, credited to increasing usage to process waste across end-use industries such as mining, paper & mills, chemicals, etc., where reducing industrial sludge weight and volume to ensure its cost-effective disposal holds utmost significance.
Thus, companies operating across these verticals have been deploying large-scale wastewater and sludge treatment plants to maintain environmental safety. Governments and local authorities have also been investing heavily in R&D projects to innovate newer wastewater treatment methods. The dedicated contribution of companies and governments with respect to water treatment technologies will augment the industrial sludge treatment chemicals market share in the foreseeable future.
For instance, in February 2023, the Westfield City Council granted investments worth $3 million to the Department of Public Works Wastewater Division to fund technology center projects and public works due to upgrade 26-year-old sludge dewatering equipment.
Though technology has eased the process of industrial sludge treatment to a certain extent, keeping up with the current influx of waste generation is still difficult if new and efficient ways and techniques of managing waste are not devised. This calls for increased government interference and focus on rolling out cutting-edge innovation. If implemented properly, these efforts are poised to have a dramatic influence on the industrial sludge treatment chemicals market growth in the coming years.